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The Red Wings wouldn’t have drafted Pavel Datsyuk had they not wanted to scout Dmitri Kalinin

The Detroit Red Wings' signing of Pavel Datsyuk to a 3-year extension (with one year already remaining on Datsyuk's current contract) is a game-changer in terms of shaping the team going forward, but Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson related a tale to MLive's Ansar Khan that few fans know: the Wings had absolutely no idea who Datsyuk was when Andersson made a trip to Yekaterinburg, Russia back in 1998:

“It was his last year as a junior player (1997-98) and I was going to Eastern Russia, to a city called Yekaterinburg, where the Czar was killed in the early 1900s,'' Andersson said. “The player I wanted to see was a defenseman, Dmitri Kalinin, ended up being drafted by Buffalo (18th overall in 1998).''

Kalinin's club, Traktor Chelyabinsk, was playing at Dynamo Yekaterinburg, which, unbeknownst to Andersson, had this really shifty, creative little eye-catching center.

“As the game went on I saw this little centerman who was pretty good,'' Andersson said. “He worked hard up and down the ice, had good hockey sense. He broke up a lot of plays and had good skill. I went away from the game with a report on Kalinin, but also a report on this little kid.''

Andersson, accompanied by a Russian interpreter, attempted to speak to Datsyuk in the Zamboni entrance after the game.

“We wanted to meet with Kalinin because he was a possible first-rounder,'' Andersson said. “But the interpreter knew I was a little interested in Pav, so (Datsyuk) came walking by and he said, 'Are you that No. 13?' They talked briefly in Russian and then (Datsyuk) just took off. The interpreter said, 'He wasn't very interested in talking.' ''

Andersson continues relating his story, and boy howdy, is Khan's article is worth your time.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Sounds like a huge disservice to Kalinin if he could’ve been Pavel Datsyuk instead.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 06/19/13 at 12:17 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Holland said the team relies on its scouts to step up and make a case for a player in the later rounds.

“Hakan Andersson knows when to fight (for a player), and if he has a player he really likes he’ll be banging the drum with Joe McDonnell (director of amateur scouting) and Jim Nill (now the GM of the Dallas Stars),’’ Holland said. “They respect Hakan’s skill and experience. When Hakan is fighting for a player, they’ll listen.’‘

Fifteen years later, Datsyuk continues to dangle the puck like no one in the game and dazzle audiences like few can. And the man who discovered him couldn’t be more gratified.

THE best Organ-I-zation in professional sports.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 06/19/13 at 12:58 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Hakan Andersson belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 06/19/13 at 01:19 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

I don’t understand the article’s headline.  Kalinin went 18th.  Detroit picked last.  Datsyuk went many rounds later.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/19/13 at 01:22 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The team still wanted Kalinin, and had they never gone to see Kalinin play, they never would have drafted Datsyuk.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/19/13 at 01:31 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Those are true statements, George.  What isn’t true is that seeing Datsyuk play affected their desire to draft Kalinin at all, nor did seeing Datsyuk play affect their inability to draft Kalinin (he was already gone long before they picked). 

On an amusing note; the Avs took Scott Parker 20th that year and the Wings got Fischer at 25th.  That is amazingly funny in retrospect.  I always hated Parker so (and his stupid beard and nickname).  He was my go to example of a waste of a roster spot and I never knew he was a first rounder.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/19/13 at 01:48 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Headline corrected.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/19/13 at 01:52 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

My pedantic side is appeased and my “oh goodness, why did I hassle George, he’s got enough to do?” Side properly embarrassed.  Keep up the good work and thanks.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/19/13 at 01:56 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.